This article was originally published on Common Edge. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police, the United States erupted in protests and demonstrations. The fervor generated by that event reached the world of architecture education a couple of weeks later, when two groups at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD)—the African American Student Union (AASU) and AfricaGSD—posted a public statement, Notes on Credibility, calling for reforms at the school. Four days later, Dean Sarah M. Whiting posted a response, Towards a New GSD. Shortly after, I reached out to the groups, and they put me in touch with two of their members: Caleb Negash, a second-year student in the MArch program, and Andrew Mbuthia Ngure, a third-year student in the same program. Negash, 27, did his undergraduate studies in architecture at Princeton. He worked in New York as a designer and later spent more than a year in Singapore teaching high-school-age students architecture, prior to applying to the GSD. The son of Ethiopian-born academics, Negash was born in California and moved to Atlanta at the age of 10. Ngure, 28, was born in Kenya and moved to the U.S. to attend community college in Baltimore. Prior to attending the GSD, he earned a bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Environmental Studies from Morgan State University. Earlier this summer, I spoke to the two of them on Zoom (Negash from Cambridge, Ngure from Baltimore) about Notes on Credibility, the experience of being a Black student at the GSD, and their plans for the future.
View moreView full description